In 2005, New York-based GLG opened an Austin office as a small outpost for its business, which specializes in connecting businesses to experts.
“We moved here because we thought it was a quaint sleepy community which was pro-business and where we could maybe put some of our folks because it was such a small livable city,” said Richard Socarides, GLG’s head of public affairs.
It turned out to be a good fit. Today, the global company has more employees in Austin -- 628 people -- than anywhere else in the world.
And there is more to come. GLG recently completed a major expansion of its downtown Austin office, giving it space for 730 workers. In July alone, the company has added 125 new employees.
“We had no intention of making this our largest office in terms of space and employees,” Socarides said. “This happened because our people like it so much and people who come to work for GLG really want to come to work in Austin.”
GLG, which has 1,600 employees worldwide, helps companies find experts in the right field to help solve problems. Companies pay subscriptions and are connected with the experts, who usually have one-on-one phone calls or meet in person.
Clients typically seek input and advice from GLG experts to test strategic hypotheses, make smarter investment decisions, gain marketing insight, or simply to gain operational advice from seasoned executives.
For example, GLG might help an insurance company seeking expert advice on the rise of autonomous vehicles, a bank looking for insight on new payment methods, or a technology company exploring the viability of a new product or market. Some of GLG's clients include Cisco, GE and Novo Nordisk.
According to Bloomberg, GLG is the dominant U.S. expert network, and competes with European rivals including Third Bridge and AlphaSights. All compile private databases of consultants from around the world. GLG says it has more than 600,000 experts in its network. When their knowledge is in demand, GLG books the meetings and they are paid for their time.
GLG, which has 22 offices worldwide, doesn’t disclose pricing, but Bloomberg said the industry’s leading firms offer basic packages of $100,000 per company for the service of pairing employees with the right experts. That can increase if they need more phone time.
In Austin, the vast majority of GLG employees are focused on client services.
“It’s arranging connections, and making sure the person we connect them to is exactly the right person, and doing that in a fast and smart way,” Socarides said.
Because the range of clients is so vast, GLG hires workers from a wide range of backgrounds. That’s another reason Austin is the firm’s largest office: The University of Texas is a key recruiting ground.
“A lot of our growth has been recent graduates -- UT has provided a great group of young talent,” Socarides said. “We have a lot of political science majors, a lot of economics majors, we hire a lot of journalism majors and people interested in science and technology.”
That talent pipeline is one reason why the firm expanded its offices at 301 Congress Ave.
As part of the renovation, GLG doubled its space to 84,000 square feet on four floors. The completed project includes an outdoor terrace, two open interconnecting staircases, a large event space for broadcasting live events, and a second barista bar.
“We feel we have grown over the last 13 years as Austin has grown,” Socarides said. “Our office here has room for 730 people, and we think we’ll be there at this time next year.”
News on Open Source is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of 512tech.com comes with an American-Statesman digital subscription, which also includes myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe at statesman.com/subscribe.